Tyra Banks slammed for mocking America's Next Top Model contestant for gap in her teeth: 'It's not marketable'
The television personality and model has been criticized on social media for her behavior in previous seasons of ANTM
Tyra Banks has been slammed for her behavior from earlier seasons of 'America's Next Top Model,' including an episode where she bullied a contestant who had a gap in her teeth. Twitter was displeased with the television personality over a scene from the show, which first aired in 2003 and has run for 24 seasons, where she puts down Danielle Evans and says she isn't "marketable" because of the "flaw" with her teeth.
In the clip, which is from season 6 and recently resurfaced, Banks tells Evans, "So Danielle, you went to the dentist, but you refused to have your gap closed. Do you really think you can have a Covergirl contract with a gap in your mouth?"
When Evans shrugs and replies, "Yeah, why not?" Banks mocks her by putting her finger between her teeth and says, "This is all people see. It's easy, breezy, beautiful Covergirl. It's not marketable."
At this point, Evans appears to give in a little and says, "Just a little bit is okay, but I don't wanna completely close it."
Judge J. Alexander then offers his opinion backing up Banks and quips, "Well, I guess she just left the ‘gap’ wide open for another girl, baby."
The scene was widely criticized on social media, with many expressing how it made them feel very uncomfortable about having a gap in their teeth themselves and that shouldn't be the message such a popular show should be sending.
"I remember watching this as a young woman & I felt extremely discouraged to be on TV bc of this scene," wrote television personality Nina Parker. "I was disappointed in Tyra then... She ended up pressuring this girl to get dental surgery to be 'marketable.' Also my gap & TV contract say HI!"
"11 year old me, with a gap in my mouth, watched this and I became obsessed with closing my gap. Glad I never closed it but Tyra was deadass wrong for this," tweeted a second user.
Some suggested the attack on Evans had racist connotations, especially since Banks did not seem so disapproving of the feature during a later season.
"While danielle was made to feel ugly for her gap, 6/7 cycles laters tyra widened a white contestant’s gap because of how high fashion, unique and captivating it would be," one pointed out. "'Not marketable’ is tyra speak for hating dark skin girls."
"Whilst there’s been a lot of talk about Tyra’s tyranny on ANTM in recent years, there was absolutely a specific type of regulation, silencing and policing that was directed towards Black women on the show, and dark skinned Black women in particular," another similarly wrote.
Banks was also criticized for a season 13 'bi-racial' photoshoot where contestants were made to seemingly wear blackface.
"Tyra banks makes girls do black face..." one commented. "Tells girls to go bald and then kicks them off the show, and discredits their people of the lgbtq community from coming out... "
The model defended herself at the time, saying, "What we thought was a celebration turned out to be… very negative in some of the press and a lot of them were even saying that it was racism. A lot of them went so far as to accuse me and 'Top Model' of putting the girls in black face..."
"I want to be clear: I, in no way, put my Models in blackface. I'm a black woman. I am proud. I love my people and the struggle that we have gone through continues and the last thing that I would ever do is be a part of something that degraded my race."